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Chains and Acres


You learn something every day. After years of wondering how the acre came about as a measurement of area, here comes the <a href="" source="Wikipedia">Chain (length)</a> to explain everything. An acre is apparently not just an inscrutably long and decimal-place--laden number of square yards. It is, in fact, exactly 10 square chains. A chain is one tenth of a furlong and equal to 66 feet. That makes more sense than 4840 square yards or a box 208.71 feet on a side. In addition to the chain, there's also the rood, which is a quarter of an acre, the perch, which is 1/160 of an acre (and equal to a square rod, which is 5.5 yards long) and the indian cent, which is 1/100 of an acre (but whose measurement in square feet or square yards is doubtless also fraught with decimal places). So an acre is 10 square chains---a <i>strip</i> of land one furlong long and one chain wide, instead of a <i>square</i> of land---and a square chain is 1000 square links. It's comforting to know that even the British system of measurement has roots in base-10.